Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

How many are REALLY leaving UA? [2014 edition]

How many are REALLY leaving UA? [2014 edition]

Old Jan 6, 14, 10:28 am
  #31  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: near to SFO and LHR
Programs: BA Gold, B6 Mosiac, VS, AA, DL (and a legacy UA 2MM)
Posts: 2,107
Originally Posted by Superguy View Post

UA's within its right to ask "what have you done for me lately." However, it shouldn't be surprised when customers ask them the same question, realize it's done nothing or made things worse for them, and then see them leave for greener pastures. It cuts both ways.
Agree that that's a good way to look at it. I do understand the pain that many travelers have experienced under the new mgmt. I personally have been generally happy with the service and perks on UA this year (mostly TATL), so I'm not ready to jump ship. UA has compared reasonably well with both BA (AA partner) and VS (Delta partner) which I've flown in business also this year (to burn miles). No great motivation to jump ship.

I like the recent development at UA with R space opening up a few days before international flights (it seems) too
StingWest is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 11:07 am
  #32  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BWI
Programs: AA Gold, HH Diamond, National Emerald Executive, TSA Disparager Gold
Posts: 15,127
Originally Posted by bseller View Post
This is a very valid point.

The reason, IMO, that they will be surprised is that the HouCrew doesn't see how people CAN go to greener pastures. What other pastures are there when you hub at IAH, CLE, EWR and GUM??
Problem is, most other airlines have hubs within reasonable distances of those (except for GUM). Between DL and US/AA, you have JFK, ORD, PHL, CVG (sorta), DTW, etc).

This plays into pdx1M's comment:

Originally Posted by pdx1M
I suspect that if one does the actual math there are more travelers that fly in aggregate from non-hubs than from hubs. For those of us that don't live in a highly captured hub (ATL, MIA, EWR - tho other choices for NYC, IAH, ORD, SFO, CLE) we are almost always (unless flying to a hub) going to have to connect. In that case, it really makes no difference. The current UA management seems to not see that based on their approach to competition. If I have to connect then where you do it often has little impact on travel time. An extreme example - I was just looking at PSP-DCA and the difference between connections that look "straight" and a rather weird looking PSP-SEA-DCA on AS maxed out at about 1.5 hours for the departure times I needed. Service levels and value/cost really come into play for most of us. It really takes an amazing level of obliviousness to the customer base you serve to understand so little of them.
I agree with this. Outside of hub captives, where connections occur doesn't matter as much as there aren't going to be that many nonstops, except to hubs. BWI, for example, outside of the WN domination, is pretty much equal amongst the remaining airlines. In most cases, it doesn't matter much whether I connect in SLC, DEN, or PHX in the west or EWR, PHL, ATL, CLT, or JFK in the east. Most get me there in more or less the same amount of time.

If I want to go to the west coast, UA used to have decent service to SFO and LAX. Now, it's practically nonexistent, which makes UA a lot less attractive compared to the others. With service times being equal, it becomes more of where I get the best value for my money.

Originally Posted by StingWest
Agree that that's a good way to look at it. I do understand the pain that many travelers have experienced under the new mgmt. I personally have been generally happy with the service and perks on UA this year (mostly TATL), so I'm not ready to jump ship. UA has compared reasonably well with both BA (AA partner) and VS (Delta partner) which I've flown in business also this year (to burn miles). No great motivation to jump ship.
Being tied to US at the moment, I've done my TPACs on UA the last couple years. In Y on the couple occasions I flew them, *G treatment wasn't much different than I would have gotten on UA, with the exception of missing E+ and a small chance at an upgrade if I were a 1K instead of a CP. I paid for C on the TPACs so I didn't miss anything at all. Sadly, what I saw wasn't beckoning me to come back.

PQDs aren't an issue with paid C TPACs - I can get what I need for 1K on 2 trips. The problem UA's facing is if I'm not seeing the value of what they're offering when I'm actually paying for the perks, why would I want to park my butt on their planes repeatedly to try to get them for free?

Now that US is tied with AA, I don't have to give them anything.
Superguy is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 12:40 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Programs: United mileage Plus 1k and Million Miler, Krisflyer, Air New Zealand, Qantas, Virgin
Posts: 210
Originally Posted by pdx1M View Post
I don't disagree that there is a lot of pointless whining here. However, your analysis is too simplistic also. There are a lot of successful businesses that value good customers and make plenty of money doing it largely via high quality customer service (think Nordstrom in retailing).

I have no issues with UA adding dollar qualifications for elite levels - makes sense. I don't have issues with them trying to sell first class seats. However, their overall customer service is quite a bit worse today that it was in the past for customers like me who actually buy expensive tickets. Their reliability is worse, their on-board service is worse, their IRROPs handling is worse, their phone handling is worse, and, yes, the value of things like elite status and miles is worse.

As a result my buying patterns have changed a lot to UA's detriment and my benefit in an, I think, rational response to this degradation. I just bought a cheap fare to Hawaii made even cheaper using an "oops" cert from UA from my last trip to Hawaii and upgraded that with a cert upgrade. Cheap first class trip. I also just finished a trip where I bought last minute first class on Delta, and I'm planning my next two trans cons, one of which will be a first class purchase on AS and the other probably a first class purchase on AA. In the past both of those would have gone to UA. I don't pretend to understand UA's business model but I will observe that any model that incentivizes me (a many year GS) to buy low cpm tickets with UA and direct high cpm tickets to their competition due entirely to the quality of their customer service and product seems to me a strange one.

So while there is a lot of noise on this forum from folks that are purely motivated by the mileage equation and elite chase, there are also those of us who pay for good service and do not see they are getting their value any longer from UA. I hope to someday understand the strange world in which that is savvy business by UA's current management.
very measured comments here. I can't help but think any smart company would be sifting through this forum as a free means to survey audience response to their product. Comparing this against scientifically surveyed views of the silent majority out there would suggest precisely where the company needed to fix things and where it was working properly.

Surely, the stockholders in United are lurking here to get a 'no holds barred' look at how well United is doing in its customer base's eyes. And how well the CEO is actually running the company. As a stockholder, I certainly would be.
syrahnose is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 12:53 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Portland, OR, USA
Programs: UA 1K 3 Million/ex-many year GS, AA PLT/2 Mil, AS MVPG, HH Dia, Starwood Life Plat, Hertz PC
Posts: 1,400
Originally Posted by syrahnose View Post
very measured comments here. I can't help but think any smart company would be sifting through this forum as a free means to survey audience response to their product. Comparing this against scientifically surveyed views of the silent majority out there would suggest precisely where the company needed to fix things and where it was working properly.

Surely, the stockholders in United are lurking here to get a 'no holds barred' look at how well United is doing in its customer base's eyes. And how well the CEO is actually running the company. As a stockholder, I certainly would be.
Thanks. Sadly I don't think UA is listening to these types of input. I tried saying pretty much the same thing to them through various 1-1 channels including UA Insider over the past couple of years as I saw my own purchase patterns start to change. I got either "tough" or simply silence. Not even the courtesy of a response in the case of UAI. You would think that someone who spent 100's of thousands of dollars over years of being a GS and who now consciously books away from UA unless I have some special deal or there is simply no alternative would be worth having a chat with to at least understand why the change. However, I have seen this type of behavior before and it comes of a culture so convinced it is right about something that it cannot allow itself to take inputs that might contradict their own views. When I have seen it in other business settings (and even been a part of it myself I am sorry to admit) it NEVER has come out well. Reality is a harsh teacher to those who put their fingers in their ears and chant na-na-na. Unfortunately for us (and for UA actually) reality is also a very slow teacher and these types of behaviors have to persist until real damage is done before folks like boards and stockholders wake up to them. So unlike others here I don't really have any hope of regime change at UA anytime soon because cultures that get this insular also develop amazing defenses and staying power.
pdx1M is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 12:54 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 5,825
Originally Posted by syrahnose View Post
very measured comments here. I can't help but think any smart company would be sifting through this forum as a free means to survey audience response to their product. Comparing this against scientifically surveyed views of the silent majority out there would suggest precisely where the company needed to fix things and where it was working properly.

Surely, the stockholders in United are lurking here to get a 'no holds barred' look at how well United is doing in its customer base's eyes. And how well the CEO is actually running the company. As a stockholder, I certainly would be.
As a stockholder, the most important place to look is at your monthly statement from your broker...
LarkSFO is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 12:55 pm
  #36  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Northern Calif./Eastern Ida.
Programs: Flying whoever is most convenient
Posts: 17,191
Originally Posted by pdx1M View Post
I don't disagree that there is a lot of pointless whining here. However, your analysis is too simplistic also. There are a lot of successful businesses that value good customers and make plenty of money doing it largely via high quality customer service (think Nordstrom in retailing).

I have no issues with UA adding dollar qualifications for elite levels - makes sense. I don't have issues with them trying to sell first class seats. However, their overall customer service is quite a bit worse today that it was in the past for customers like me who actually buy expensive tickets. Their reliability is worse, their on-board service is worse, their IRROPs handling is worse, their phone handling is worse, and, yes, the value of things like elite status and miles is worse.

As a result my buying patterns have changed a lot to UA's detriment and my benefit in an, I think, rational response to this degradation. I just bought a cheap fare to Hawaii made even cheaper using an "oops" cert from UA from my last trip to Hawaii and upgraded that with a cert upgrade. Cheap first class trip. I also just finished a trip where I bought last minute first class on Delta, and I'm planning my next two trans cons, one of which will be a first class purchase on AS and the other probably a first class purchase on AA. In the past both of those would have gone to UA. I don't pretend to understand UA's business model but I will observe that any model that incentivizes me (a many year GS) to buy low cpm tickets with UA and direct high cpm tickets to their competition due entirely to the quality of their customer service and product seems to me a strange one.

So while there is a lot of noise on this forum from folks that are purely motivated by the mileage equation and elite chase, there are also those of us who pay for good service and do not see they are getting their value any longer from UA. I hope to someday understand the strange world in which that is savvy business by UA's current management.
^^^^
PV_Premier is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:21 pm
  #37  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA EXP, UA former 1K (1.9MM and gone), Marriott LT Plat, Hilton Diamond, SPG Plat
Posts: 1,111
Originally Posted by syrahnose View Post
very measured comments here. I can't help but think any smart company would be sifting through this forum as a free means to survey audience response to their product. Comparing this against scientifically surveyed views of the silent majority out there would suggest precisely where the company needed to fix things and where it was working properly.

Surely, the stockholders in United are lurking here to get a 'no holds barred' look at how well United is doing in its customer base's eyes. And how well the CEO is actually running the company. As a stockholder, I certainly would be.
I keep wondering if UA's lack of non-institutional ownership, less than 4% vs. an industry average of 42%, is the cause or the result of market expectations being skewed. Maybe it's easier for them to convince a small number of key analysts to believe in their strategy than it would be with a broader distribution of shareholders.
NiceLanding is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:26 pm
  #38  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NYC
Programs: AA DULtArer
Posts: 5,525
Originally Posted by Superguy View Post
My problem with PQD isn't that it's been instituted. My problem with is it that they're demanding more and continuously giving less in return for those increased demands. If the experience is enhanced positively due to PQD - that's one thing. If they're going to continue to cut the experience - no thanks, I'll pass.

UA's within its right to ask "what have you done for me lately." However, it shouldn't be surprised when customers ask them the same question, realize it's done nothing or made things worse for them, and then see them leave for greener pastures. It cuts both ways.
I think all of us will have to accept less on the perk side, given the cost drivers brought on my low fares. Your triumph taking your business somewhere else will be short-lived when the economics catch up with any main carrier with a global reach.

very measured comments here. I can't help but think any smart company would be sifting through this forum as a free means to survey audience response to their product. Comparing this against scientifically surveyed views of the silent majority out there would suggest precisely where the company needed to fix things and where it was working properly.

Surely, the stockholders in United are lurking here to get a 'no holds barred' look at how well United is doing in its customer base's eyes. And how well the CEO is actually running the company. As a stockholder, I certainly would be.
Its a queer composite of folks here on FT, and not one useful for gauging customer satisfaction. There are the embittered, the disenfranchised, the Jeff- apologists, the whiners, and the I didn't get both of my FC meals all wrapped into one. Its also well <1% of flyers represented, and most decidedly NOT a random sample.
LaserSailor is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:42 pm
  #39  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 5,825
Originally Posted by NiceLanding View Post
I keep wondering if UA's lack of non-institutional ownership, less than 4% vs. an industry average of 42%, is the cause or the result of market expectations being skewed. Maybe it's easier for them to convince a small number of key analysts to believe in their strategy than it would be with a broader distribution of shareholders.
Industry average of 42%?

What industry are you referring to, or was this a rectilinear calculation?

Inst Ownership %
UAL: 97%
ALK: 99%
LUV: 82%
DAL: 91%

I don't know how this is possible, but according to NASDAQ JBLU is 102% institutional owned...

AAL is too new (?) to have ownership listed.
LarkSFO is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:42 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA EXP, UA former 1K (1.9MM and gone), Marriott LT Plat, Hilton Diamond, SPG Plat
Posts: 1,111
Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
I think all of us will have to accept less on the perk side, given the cost drivers brought on my low fares. Your triumph taking your business somewhere else will be short-lived when the economics catch up with any main carrier with a global reach.
A classic FUD argument: "My competitor's product may be better than mine, but soon it will be just as bad, so don't bother switching."

Out of curiosity, if UA was now better than its competitors, rather than worse, would you be arguing that the others will catch up to it soon? Therefore no one should ever bother switching their loyalties? Or do you just feel that loyalty to any single airline is now pointless?
NiceLanding is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:44 pm
  #41  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BWI
Programs: AA Gold, HH Diamond, National Emerald Executive, TSA Disparager Gold
Posts: 15,127
Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
I think all of us will have to accept less on the perk side, given the cost drivers brought on my low fares. Your triumph taking your business somewhere else will be short-lived when the economics catch up with any main carrier with a global reach.
Maybe, maybe not. While the general trend may be downward, there are carriers that are actively trying to improve their products, such as AA and DL. We all know that DL has a crappy FFP, but many consider their service and product to be worth the tradeoff.

And you have no idea what Parker's going to do with AA. So far, indications point to him maintaining the premium aspects and bringing US up to AA standards. Considering AA folks will remain in charge of the AAdvantage program and their proclivity and willingness to poach from UA, it's quite possible that they may maintain a better FFP than UA to attract those unhappy flyers.

In the meantime, why should I continue to suffer with UA's offerings when I can get better from the competition?

Its a queer composite of folks here on FT, and not one useful for gauging customer satisfaction. There are the embittered, the disenfranchised, the Jeff- apologists, the whiners, and the I didn't get both of my FC meals all wrapped into one. Its also well <1% of flyers represented, and most decidedly NOT a random sample.
And you also have the cheereleaders, the koolaid drinkers, the "I don't care my secretary makes my travel plans", the "it's good enough for me" folks, etc. So what?

At the same time, it also represents a significant chunk of flyers, many of whom are HVFs. While they certainly don't speak for every flyer out there, UA would ignore what they're saying at its own peril. While certainly everyone is not pissed off at UA, there are plenty of good and valid reasons why those who aren't feel the way they do.

Just because YOU disagree with them and think you're part of the "silent majority" doesn't make either so.

Clearly UA recognizes the value of having a presence here on FT - to reach out to some of its most frequent and loyal followers. If UA didn't think it was worth the resources as most people were whiners, the disenfranchised, blah blah, UAI wouldn't exist.

UA can collect plenty of nearly free data on why the unhappy feel the way they do. It's foolish not to consider it.
Superguy is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:45 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 5,825
Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
Its a queer composite of folks here on FT, and not one useful for gauging customer satisfaction. There are the embittered, the disenfranchised, the Jeff- apologists, the whiners, and the I didn't get both of my FC meals all wrapped into one. Its also well <1% of flyers represented, and most decidedly NOT a random sample.
Please, you can not forget my favorite: The Sycophants. Similar to, but distinct from, The Apologists.

I also think there are many realists on this board, who observe changes, work to understand how the changes will impact them, and make decisions based upon the result of their evaluation.

Reasoned and well articulated analysis is always so refreshing to read here.
LarkSFO is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:50 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Programs: B6 Mosaic, Bonvoy LT Titanium (x SPG LT), IHG Spire, UA Silver
Posts: 4,810
Originally Posted by LarkSFO View Post
As a stockholder, the most important place to look is at your monthly statement from your broker...
That would not be smart if one is investing for the short or long term. Seeing that a stock was up last month does very little good if it tanks between statements.
sfozrhfco is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:52 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 5,825
Originally Posted by sfozrhfco View Post
That would not be smart if one is investing for the short or long term. Seeing that a stock was up last month does very little good if it tanks between statements.
You are not claiming that Flyertalk is a better barometer than Wall Street of company value, are you?

I am a buy and hold investor. I try not to actually even look at my statements more than once a quarter... (difficult to do sometimes)
LarkSFO is offline  
Old Jan 6, 14, 1:54 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NYC
Programs: AA DULtArer
Posts: 5,525
Originally Posted by NiceLanding View Post
A classic FUD argument: "My competitor's product may be better than mine, but soon it will be just as bad, so don't bother switching."

Out of curiosity, if UA was now better than its competitors, rather than worse, would you be arguing that the others will catch up to it soon? Therefore no one should ever bother switching their loyalties? Or do you just feel that loyalty to any single airline is now pointless?
Loyalty to an airline has always been pointless. No airline ever loved you, it just made you feel like it did.

I will abandon UA in a heartbeat when a new airline can more efficiently route me to where I need to be.

Please, you can not forget my favorite: The Sycophants. Similar to, but distinct from, The Apologists.

I also think there are many realists on this board, who observe changes, work to understand how the changes will impact them, and make decisions based upon the result of their evaluation.

Reasoned and well articulated analysis is always so refreshing to read here.
Why are you quoting my post then??
LaserSailor is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: